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Charlie Rose

News/Business. Michelle Rhee, Carolina Herrera, Tom Hodge. (2013) Author Michelle Rhee; designer Carolina Herrera; composer Tom Hodge; music producer Javier Peral; author Mickey Edwards. New. (CC) (Stereo)

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PBS

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01:00:00

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TOPIC FREQUENCY

Washington 7, D.c. 6, Javier 6, Us 5, Charlie 4, Michelle Rhee 4, Mickey Edwards 3, Javier Peral 3, New York 3, America 3, Tom Hodge 2, Kevin Johnson 2, Patricia 2, London 2, New York City 2, Nce Aesign 1, Aspin Institute 1, Herrera 1, Arne Duncan 1, Toecide Whher 1,
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  PBS    Charlie Rose    News/Business. Michelle Rhee, Carolina Herrera, Tom Hodge.   
   (2013) Author Michelle Rhee; designer Carolina Herrera;...  

    February 18, 2013
    11:00 - 11:59pm PST  

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we begin this evening with michelle rhee, the author of "radical: fighting to put students first." >> so here's what i would say about d.c. we were only there for three and a half years so did we accomplish everything that we wanted to? absolutely not. did we make significant progress that outsize it had progress of the district has been making before, yes. that's unequivocal. if you look at the achievement rates of the children, we moved from the situation where about a quarter of the kids were on grade level in mathematics and reading in the elementary school to now over half. so still you only had half the kids, that'sotcceable but, you know, when you're seeing that much progress, i think we can say that we were doing something right. >> rose: we continue this evening with designer carolina herrera and her musical collaborators tom hodge and
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javier peral. >> everything is an inspiration and i went to the music because i think it's a -- it's so normal to be inspired by music. i think every designer is always listening to music and music transports you in a romance, in a dream, everything. >> rose: we conclude this evening with mickey edwards, author of "the parties versus the people: how to turn republicans and democrats into americans." >> the problem is not republicans. the problem is republicans and democrats, the white house and the congress. it's people on all sides who say you know, we have an ideology and we're not going to ever reach a point where we're going to compromise. we're going to fall on our swords. but we have a country to run, charlie. we've got to make sure the troops get their supplies. we've got to make sure we pay our bills. we've got to make sure the water is pure, the bridges don't collapse. you ow, there's a point you say "i stood up for my principles, i'm going to fight for my principles."
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and then at the end because there's 300 million of us because we're very diverse, you need to compromise and say "how do we make government work for the country?" >> rose: education, fashion and politics when we continue.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: michelle rhee is here. she is one of those widely known and perhaps most controversial figures in education. she served as chancellor of the d.c. public school system from 2007 to 2010. her sweeping reforms and hard-nosed style have changed the national debate ov school refo. sh has written a new book about her vision for american education. it's called "radical: fighting to put students first." i am pleased to have michelle rhee back at this table. welcome. >> thank you for having me. >> rose: why did you call it "radical"? >> you know, when i started the job in d.c. i was -- i took over the lowest performing and dysfunctional school district in the entire nation. so i started making very rapid changes.
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i started closing down low-performing schools, removing ineffective educators, icut a central office beaucracy in half. to me those seemed like really obvious moves to make. >> rose: right. >> what was interesting, though, is people started saying "she's a lightning rod, she's radical, she's doing all these controversial things." and i thought, really. i just thought -- >> rose: you thought it was just common sense? >> yeah, exactly. finally it came to me that if bringing common sense to a dysfunctional system makes me a radical than i am okay being radical. >> rose: you're happy to be a radical. "dedicated to the children of washington, d.c. who deserve the best schools in the world." >> that's right. >> rose: why do they deserv it more than anyone else? >> i think because they are the children in our nation's capital and that says something to me. that says something to me and the rest of the world about how we value children and education when the children in the capital of america-- which is supposed to be the greatest country on
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earth-- are reading and doing math -- 80% of them are on grade level. that's a travesty. that's criminal. and so i with all of m heart believe that the kids dserve the best education in the entire world. >> rose: this is the last paragraph of the introduction called "arms." "my goal is to have created a movement that will remake american public education so that every child can have the opportunity to learn and excel and join a work force that will help the united states compete and win in a global economy. it will not be easy or gentle. it will not be quick. it will require a struggle over power and money. my grandmother asked how hard can that be? very." so tell me about the struggle th has to be fough well -- >> engaged. >> look at where we are as a country. we are ranked 14th, 17th, and 25th out of all developed nations in reading, science and
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math respectively. our 25th ranking in math puts us behind countries like hungary and slovakia, which is -- i mean this is just not who we are as a nation. and in order to -- >> rose: not what made us great. >> no. and it's not going to make u eat the fure unless we fix it. and i think that, you know, if you look at america today we have one of the lowest social mobility rates in the entire world. meaning if you are a child born into poverty in this country, the chances you will ever escape poverty are not good. which i think goes counter to everything we believe in as a country. so what's at stake is the lives of kids and the values of this nation which i think are of preeminent importance and it's a struggle because therere a lot ofeopland a l oforces that want to maintain the status quo, who do not want things to change and who are going to fight tooth and nail.
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>> rose: when people hear you say that, they think you're talking about teachers and teachers' unions. >> i absolutely am not talking about teachers. in fact, i don't think that we're going to be able to reform the education system without teachers. >> rose: teachers unions? >> teachers unions -- you know, people want to say to me all the time that the teachers' unions are the major obstacle in this whole fight and they are the reason why things are as d as they are. i just don't put the singular blame on teachers' unions. the job of teachers' unions is to maximize the pay and privileges and priorities of their members. and they are doing a phenomenal job of that. >> rose: do you think it's their job to protect those that are not very good simply because they're a member of the union and the union is pledged to protect the interest of their members regardless of their performance? >> yeah. that is their purpose. the purpose of teachers' unions is not to raise student achievement levels, it is to protect their members and that's
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exactly what they're doing. we can't begrudge them that. >> rose: but does the union not want to see better teachers? does the union not want to see teachers be rewarded for performance? >> you know, you would think that they would. >> rose: they say that they would. >> and they say often that they would. but, you know, when i was in d.c. and we put a -- a proposal on the table in front of them at one point to pay highly effective teachers basically double the amount of money that they were in the old system. >> rose: if you could do what? if we basically got rid of tenure and seniority. >> rose: so you said if we can get rid of tenure and seniority we will pay them twice as much. >> and this was a choice that all teachers could make whether they wanted to opt into the system or not. and the union was not in favor of it. and i continue to struggle to understand why they continue to
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oppose initiatives that want to pay the best teachers more money. because in my opinion, there is noore important job in this nation than being a teacher. >> rose: bill gates was here recently and he talked about teacher performance. how should we measure it? >> well, the gates foundation has done some amazing work on this front. because for a long time people said, well, we can't possibly measure teacher performance, it's an art not a science, et cetera. and what the gates foundation has found is that actually you can measure teacher performance. >> rose: by more than simply test scores of the students. >> that's right. student academic growth should be part of the equatn bad on thei search but you should look at observations to classroom practice, you should look at -- interestingly, they found that how students rated their teachers correlated very highly to teacher overall performance. so kids really know whether or not they're in the classroom of a highly effective teacher or not. but the reality is that we have
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known for a very long time that we could identify great teachers and identify not so great teachers. you walk into any school building anywhere in this country today and you ask parents or kids or other teache "whs the best teacher in the school?" they'll tell you. say "who's not so good?" they'll tell you that person, too. so there is a way that we can identify where different teachers are in terms of their performance. we just have to have a commitment to doing so. >> rose: do school boards need more power? >> well, i would say no to that question because school boards in my opinion -- >> rose: the influence -- >> well, i think school boards in this country have been very susceptible to the political process ando often tis school boards are some of the most dysfunctional bodies that exist, political bodies that exist in this country. and they certainly haven't moved
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] around. they filmed me in a meeting when i was firing a principal. >> rose: why would you do that? >> now let me be clear. the person's name -- and nobody knew who that person was. all. not, you know, quote/unquote humiliating to the person. >> rose: so why did you do it? >> at the time i thought i want to be very clear that it is a new day in the washington, d.c. public schools. that we are no longer going to allow the status quo to rule. but when i look back on something like that, i was incredibly naive about what meage that sent. d so what i would say about that particular circumstance is should i have terminated that principal? absolutely. he was ineffective, he was not doing good things -- >> rose: should you have done in the front of a camera? >> no. >> rose: but i'm more interested in programs and ideas. obviously you became polarizing to a degree. >> yes. >> rose: but you could argue
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that the expression is you have to break an egg to make an omelet and therefore you had to break an egg. you had to come in and say, look we can do it differently. >> yeah. >> rose: but what are the results? because i always have hard time -- and help me with this, i really don't know. determining success in education. because i'll pick up the paper tomorrow and say charter schools aren't as good as they thought they were." >> right. >> rose: pick up the paper the next day and they'll say vouchers are terrific. >> right. >> rose: then the next day you'll have somebody come back who has a different political view and say no, no, no. >> and that's why the american people are so confused right now. because they hear me say one thing, they hear somebody else say another thing. >> rose: they don't know how to measure. >> that's right. and then they sayho's right? i can't figure it out. >> rose: what works and doesn't work. >> so here's what i would say. about d.c., we were only there for three and a half years so did we accomplish everything that we wanted to?
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absolutely not. did we make significant progress that outsize it had progress of the district has been making before? yes. that's unequivocal. and if you look at the achievement rates of the children, we moved from a situation where about a quarter of the kids were on grade level in mathematics and reading in the elementary school to now over half. you only have half the kids, that's not acceptable. but when you're seeing that much progress i think we can say that we were doing something right. i'll give you another example. when we were there, we nut place a new teacher performance evaluation system that got a lot of heat and people didn't like it, et cetera. there was a recent study that came out a few weeks ago that studied a number of urban districts across the country and what it concluded was that these cities were all retaining inefctive tehers at the sam rate tt they were retaining effective teachers. there was no differentiation.
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the one outlied liar was washington, d.c. and what they showed in washington, d.c. is that we were retaining about 88% of our highly effective teachers and and only 40% of the ineffective teachers. and this to me says "you're doing something right." and we've done something right. so i think when you take a look at the data, it's clear that some progress was made. i think that, though, if you want an example of where has it worked? where are all of the kids getting an excellent education? that has yet to happen. i think it's possible, we can get there, but we don't a proof point at a district or city level yet. >> rose: what's your assessment of arne duncan? >> i think arne duncan and the president have done some incredibly bold and innovative things. i think the president has been very clear for his entire administration that he backs school reform but think 's
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portt. i never thought i'd see the day where a democratic president stood up in front of the nation and said "we should recognize and reward great teachers and if you're not good we need to find you another job." i mean, the fact that he said that and started that dialogue i think gave people cover to have this conversation. i think race to the top was a brilliant idea. that initiative sparked more legislative action in a short period of time -- >> rose: this is the places where they were doing interesting and innovative things. >> that's right. so they basically put a pot of moneyasid- $4.3 biion-- and they said "we're going to give this money out to states who are pushing the envelope and doing aggressive reform. >> rose: no child left behind? >> you know, a lot of people say "no child left behind" the republicans don't like it, the democrats don't like it, the democrats don't like it. i will say that it's far from a perfect law but what it did was it brought accountability to our system. >> rose: you say in america we
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see education as a social issue. >> that's right. >> rose: and we ought to see it as a politalissue -- as an economicss. >> as an economic issue. yeah. i heard the prime minister of singapore speak a number of years ago. we were actually at that conference and i don't know if you remember or not but it was fascinating to me. he said: when we set our sights on growing our country to be an economic powerhouse we prioritized education, we built the best education system that we could. because we knew that that was going to ensure that we were successful." >> rose: turning out talented people. >> that's right. >> rose: people who are competitive. >> now if you look athat country there's sovereign wealth and they're doing quite well. because they made -- they tied education to the economy. i think exact opposite happens here. >> rose: yeah. >> in the last presidential election we heard maybe three lines about it. >> rose: in any debate. >> and the shocking thing is when we know that our problem in
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this country is jobs and the economy you can't not talk about education because the only way that we're going to regain our position in the global marketplace is to have a skilled work force. >> rose: you can either see it as speing issue orn investment issue. >> that's right. and we 100% in this country do not see as an investment in our future. i think that's extraordinarily problematic. >> rose: but are we spending our dollars well, is the question. >> no. no. i saw a really interesting scatter plot about two years ago it was of all of the developed nations in the world and on one axis it was academic achievement levels and on the other it was per student expenditures. and we were in the quadrant that you don't want to b in. the you spend a lot of money and get low academic achievement results. we were alone if that quadrant with lux. burg. i don't know what lech
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semi-bourg is doing. >> rose: so students first if your organization. you want to engage the debate and put out ideas. what else? these are the ideas and experiences. >> we want to motivate everyday people to understand that they can make a difference. >> rose: you want to start a grass-roots movement that will have political effect? >> that will have influence on the debate that we are havin day, the disions that o politicians are making. one of the things that i did when i was writing "radical" is i traveled around the country and not only did i tell my own story about parents i met along the way, but i talked about our students first members. everyday moms who were incredibly frustrated with the public schooling experience their kids were having. didn't know what to do about it, got involved with students first started to organize their neighbors and push for better laws and policies for ourids andhen had a victory. i think it's empowering to read these stories about what we did
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in d.c. and what these parents are doing in other places to understand that individual people can make a difference, absolutely. >> rose: does kevin johnson believe the same things you do about teachers' unions? >> you know, so -- >> rose: your husband. >> this is my husband who is the mayor of sacramento. >> rose: former n.b.a. all star. >> that's right. it was interesting. is when i first met kevin johnson i was listening to him speak and he was talking about the fact that when he retired from the n.b. he decided to go back home to the neighborhood that he grew up in and start a charter school and he said that he went into the school, it was one of the lowest performing schools in the city and said this is what i'm going to do, we're going to make this school great again and the teachers clapped and he said: a week later i came back and people were hissing and booing as i came in and i realized the teachers' union had come in and told them this is terrible, you're going to lose your jobs. and the teachers' union spent $7 50,000 to make sure he
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couldn't open the charter school. and when he told that story and i listened to it i thought, wow, we have something in common. (laughs) "radical: fighting to put students first." michelle rhee, thank you. >> thank you. >> rose: good to see you. >> good to see you, too. >> rose: carolina herrera is one of fashion's most prominent designers her name has become synonymous with elegance. fashion, she once said on this program, is a fascinating madness fantasy. her new estefan tae tasy was to create an original piece of music to go along with her designs for r fall, 2013 collection which she unveiled in new york she commissioned javier peral and john hodge to create an original score. here is a look at their collaboration. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> rose: joining me now is tom
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hodge the composer, javier peral the d.j. and music producer and the designer herself, carolina herrera. i'm pleased to have them at this table. >> thank you. so much for inviting us. >> rose: so here's the question, the two of u have been workin together since -- >> 2000. >> rose: and what was the normal process? >> the normal process is when you have to collection ready then you call the d.j.-- which is javier-- and he brings a lot of music and i chose -- >> rose: this is after the clothes have been designed. >> yes. after the clothes have been designed. this time -- you know, fashion is finding something new that inspires you. and this time i was inspired by the mic before designing the collection. >> rose: that's what's different. so let me go back to the story. you come to him and you want to do something different. >> absolutely different. >> rose: what do you say, javier? >> the whole story in the
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connection between tom and i was because i admired tom's music and i didn't know tom and we used tom in the spring, 2012, show, which was revered by the new york city with a play list and tom write away wrote me an e-mail and we developed a friendship from th moment on and -- >> rose: just a friendship? no sense of taking it further? >> no. until i spoke to carolina and i said what if we do this for the first time? and carolina said "i want to do that." >> rose: why did you want to do it? >> because i was very impressed for what we do for that show, it was pag kneeny. so the way he took paganini and really robbed it. (laughter) i said it was so fantastic that i told javier why don't we investigate a little bit more and get together with tom and
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see what he can offer us. and i'm a great fan of beethoven and i adored beethoven always in every sonata, everything. >> rose: and so what did you do, tom, after that? you went to -- >> i went to the piano. >> immediately. >> rose: that's what we saw there. you said "i'm going to create music." >> yes, yes, sat down and started making some sketches. >> rose: but what inspired you? was it seeing -- what? thinking about what? what was the big question. >> inspiration question. yes. beethoven for starters. i mean, it's a fabulous piece of music. but also coming to the show last february was absolutely vital, really, getting a sense of the occasion, a sense of the draw drama, a sense of the emotion of
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it all, i suppose. >> rose: it's theater. >> absolutely. >> rose: it's theater. >> i could find parallels with theater, parallels with dance, almost, and film to some degree. the film music that's often used. >> rose: certainly video. >> absolutely. >> yes. >> rose: so, you know, it just -- that was pie vitale to see that. >> so he has music and you listen to the music. >> the sonata for violin and piano was perfect for what i had in mind after i heard what you did. because we had the drama, it had the romance, there was a bit of melancholy also. it had all the ingredients for what i wanted to have in the show. so it's very amusing to be inspired by the music and there you have the whole show in front of you, in front of my eyes, but yesterday it was in front of everyone! >> rose: yeah. >> and i think it did work. it worked so well because i had it all in my mind with a little
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hint of the '40s for the skirts that move very well and the tiny waist and the shoulders. >> rose: so it insped you to eate. >> absolutely. and i had it in my mind very light at the beginning. i'm talking about the clothes and the colors. and then it went in crescendo, which is exactly like that music was. so it was perfect. >> rose: was this an enjoyable satisfying experience for you? >> very, yeah. >> rose: because? >> um, well, i have a -- i love getting a chance to work with -- taking classic music and remaking it and -- >> rose: and you're painting on a different canvas. >> that's a great way of putting it, yeah. the chance to experience -- to try to do this in the context of the world of fashion, that's -- and to be working with an iconic -- >> rose: javier, do you think you're going to start something here?
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laugh (laughs) we want to hear! >> you don't know how great it is to have the opportunity to work with tom and tailor music to a show because the most difficult part of my job is to find gat music for a show. >> rose: and he presented it to you on a silver platter. >> already. >> perfect. >> yeah, and we got it, we tailored the music to how the show ended which was magical when -- >> that was perfection! >> the last keys on the piano and she turned the corner and the piece faded and died. it was beautiful. >> the whole experience, charles has been very, very exciting. first because when i went to london to the abbey road studio to listen to the whole thing almost rea with the contemporary orchestra in london it was amazing. amazing the experience of being there and seeing the whole thing
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and i have everything in my mind. it has been incredible. >> rose: >> seeing it on paper was incredible. >> it was. and the name also! (laughs) >> rose: this sonata you loved. >> loved. >> rose: did you present her with other ideas or did this -- is this where you knew to go because she already told you this is what inspires me? >> well, we tried -- we started out with a handful of ideas but it was -- from what javier told me this one jumped out for her. >> this is the one. >> rose: this is the one. >> the minute -- for probably the first 15 seconds carolina said "this is the one." >> but tom is the composer and the one who fix it is whole thing. i would not do any other. i love the way it sounded but i'm not pretending to be a composer so he's the key here. >> but you also said that fashion -- you said ts tohe "new york times." fashion is all about finding something new and inspiring.
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>> and inspiring. and that is absolutely true. because it did inspire me for this collection, the music. >> rose: now, when you look at this collection, is it different in any way from any other collection you have done because you operated in a different way? >> you know, i have to tell you that this was so easy because we started with the music and it went so fantastically well. the i didn't have any dot when i have a collection ready how many times do we see and listen to all the music to put it together and javier are you sure of this one? do you want to change that one? this was very easy because everyone -- everything went really well. >> rose: this was the opening of carolina's fall 2013 show which was the opening here in new york at lincoln center. roll tape.
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> rose: take me through process for you to create collection. >> all right. i'll take you through the process. first comes the materials that you're going to use,he faics. >>ose: fabrics. now, is it a true story of you that you went and said "i want to design fabrics" and she said "no, no, my dear." she said "that's very boring." (laughs) "you have to do something else. why don't you design a collection?"
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she gave me the idea and i was very lucky because i had the opportunity to start in new york. the other one who pushed me was ruby crespy. remember him? >> rose: yes. >> and after 30 years of teaching here as a designer of clothes and not fabrics. (laughs) >> rose: but you start with fabrics now. as a designer you start with fabrics. >> and then i have my team. i have a team also because i don't do it on any own. we'll sit and -- >> rose: so with the designing of the collection is the collaborative process in. >> my idea and then we start collaborating all together. >> rose: do you look for some overriding theme for every collection? >> yes, but i am a bit tired of all these themes. so i'm trying to do the clothe in a very easy way for a woman to understand that what she's going to wear is going to make her look very beautiful. you know why i say that? because i 'nam the beauty
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business. my business is to make women look more beautiful. >> rose: and perfume, too. >> and perfume also. but sometimes you get carried away and you do things that are totally unwearable to get the attraction of the press and i think i don't want to confuse the women who wear calina herrera. they know exactly what i'm going to show them more or less but it has to be something new every season. >> rose: do you think the fact that you have been so identified with elegance and the white blouse and shirt, you know, has stood you in good stead? because it has provided a continuum for you as a person? >> do you know any woman who doesn't want to look elegant or sophisticated or chic? >> rose: no! but not at all times. >> not tauplts. you know why?
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because sometimes that think that being labeled elegant or chic is old-fashioned. i don't think so. fashion is for your eye, to please your eye and to please the others that are looking at you so i don't find it -- >> rose: but how hard is it year after year with the love generality you've had to come up with something new and inspiring and different and creative? >> you have to be inspired always. if you are a designer first of all you have to have the talent and your eyes open to see what's going on and i can be inspired by talking to you. or maybe i can be inspired by the color of your tie. >> rose: (laughs) yes. >> everything's an inspiration and i went to the music because i think it's so normal to be inspired by music. i think every designer is always listening to music and music transports you in a romance, in a dream, in everything.
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>> rose: did you --i you see and understand and appreciate a connection between fashion and music that you might not have thought about before? >> >> absolutely, yeah. i guess i realized how the important it makes an emotional connection. the music help makes an emotion connection to the people looking at the clothes. like it does with film and like it does with so many things. yeah, i realized that fully when i came tthe show last year how important it was. >> rose: take a look at this. here's the end of the show. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> rose: so you've been walking around, you stood at the door -- >> no, i don't do that. in fact, i wouldn't. (laughs) five seconds and they always ask me "can you walk a little bit more?" (laughs) no way! >> rose: if somebody came up to you and said what was the theme of this? would you say to them i don't
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want to know about themes, this was different. >> it was different because it was about the music but it was also a hint of the '40s, though for 2013. >> rose: what did you like about the '40s? >> i loved the tiny waist, the movent of the skirts, the treatment of the shoulders and the glamour of the '40s. >> rose: before we go, i want to talk about the definition of fashion which i have often talked about on this show. take a look at this: this is what some people have said about fashion sitting at this table. tell me what fashion means to you. >> for me it's something that reflects life, times, and the sharpest relief because design, architecre, takes more years. fashion reflects what's going on in the world -- >> rose: at the moment. >> yes. whatever it is, good or bad it influences fashion and you can see that in fashion quicker than
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in any other thing going on. >> my goal as a fashion designer was to take in everything that was happening culturally. fashion reflects where we are as a society. i don't know that it necessarily leads it. but it says a lot about where we are as a -- as i just said, as a society. everyone has a little bit of a dream, they jump into that dream they see something in magazines, they want to be that guy they see. they want to be that guy in the movie. they want to be that guy that's living certain lives. and so clothing, in my mind, was not -- was the role. you get into it then you have to be. >> rose: see, here's the interesting question, listening to that and i said what you had said before it's a part of culture as is music, and theater d nce aesign. they are part of the creative expression that dominate our
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culture and take from the culture. what's amazing to me, too, is that each year there are new and fresh designers who we've never heard of and yet they're creating a sensation but they've done somethat that have grabbed attention. >> because they have talent and they can do it. but i tell you something: everybody designs fashion in a different way. i told you it's madness, craziness, mysterious, romance, everything mixed. but it's very, very necessary for your everyday life. because you're getting dressed every morning and only choosing the color of your tie to go with your suit and your shirt you are in fashion already. >> rose: (laughs) i have to think about that idea. >> it is true. even if you don't like it, you are. >> rose: your family works with you? >> carolina, my daughter, and patricia. carolina in the side of purchase and patricia with my design team. >> rose: and your husband is
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involved as well? >> no, he's not. he's our advisor. (laughs) >> rose: it's great to see you. congratulations. this is fantastic. javier, good to see you. >> great to see you. >> rose: mickey edwards is here, he represented oklahoma's fifth congressional district for 16 years until 1993. his conservative credentials are impeccable. he's a founding trustee of the heritage foundation and chaired the republican policy committee and the american conservative union. now he believes government has become dysfunctional d partisan warfare threatens the national interest. this comes as a time when washington is gearing up far major fight about raising the debt ceiling. his new book is called "the parties versus the people. >> how to turn republicans and democrats into americans." i'm pleased to have mickey edwards at this table. welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: tell me what we need to do here to turn republicans and democrats into people?
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>> they are people who care about the country, they want to do the right thing, but the reward system that we have created where in order to get elected to congress today through the osed party primaries and the fact that if you lose your primary you can't be on the ballot in november means basically the people who go to washington are the ones selected by a small number of hard core ideologues who vote in the party primaries. >> rose: that's been that way far while, hasn't it? not extreme but the most active elements have control of the election? >> they do. and sometimes you see things like in utah where robert bennett was trying to run for renomination they had a confession and 2,000 people voted against anymore a state of three million people and he couldn't bon the ballot. same thing happened delaware where mike castle, he lost to a woman who got 30,000 votes. he couldn't be on the ballot. so we're looking at people who represent the no compromisers, the hard-liners because of the system we've created. >> rose: how would you change the system?
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>> you need to take away from the parties the ability to control redistricting. because that makes the districts not only more partisan but creates situations where somebody like me who is from a city ended up representing wheat farmers whose views i didn't -- >> rose: you like wheat farmers. >> i lke wheat farmers but i didn't understand their concerns and that's because the parties control the redistricting. open primaries where the candidates have to run against their opponents repealing to democrats, government republicans, libertarians, the entire electorate, you'll get a very different result than what f what you're doing is trying to please hard-liners so you can get the nomination. >> rose: you would change redistricting? >> i would. 13 states allow non-rtis districting commissions not dominated by the party that controls the legislature. i would do that immediately. i would do the same thing that washington state and california did and get rid of closed-party
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primaries: the founders didn't want political parties, they all said don't create them. we ignored them and this is the mess we have. >> rose: should we do away with the electoral college? >> i don't know about the electoral college but i think one of the things you can do is what some states have started to do which is to say we will give the electoral votes statewide to the person who carries the state. but we will also give vote t the rson who controlleds or carries each congressional district. maine does that it's a way that it's not winner take all. both parties have a chance to do well. >> rose: and you just elected an independent senator. >> angus king said he is going there -- he's going caucus with the democrats. but he has said that what he's going to do is decide every issue on its merits, talk to people in both parties. and we need more of that. we need more people who say my allegiance is to the country, not my political party. >> rose: wn you look at potics today, the dysfunction
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it's there, do you believe it will be different or more extreme in the next four years of the obama administration? >> you know, already we're looking at who's going to be the nominee for president in both parties and we've already started that campaign and people positioning themselves for it. unless -- it's a systemic problem. it's not the people, it's the system and unless we change the system it's going to be at least as extreme because the reward system is as you've seen, you've seen hit in the elections this year. you run for office, you say i will never compromise, i'm going to stick to my principals no matter what, we'll shut down the government if we have to. >> rose: so what happens if the republicans, say we're prepared to shut down the government. >> anybody who says they're willing to shut down the government has got a real serious problem and doesn't belong in public office. >> rose: that the responsibility of the republicans or does the president bear any responsibility if they believe they were forced to. >> it's not the republicans. the problem is not republicans, the problem is republicans and
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democrats, it's the white house and the congress it's people on all sides who say we have an ideology and we're not going to reach a point where we're going to compromise. we'll fall on our swords. we have a country to run, charlie. we have to make sure troops get their supplies, pay our bills, make sure the water is pure, the bridges don't collapse. that there's a point where you say i've stood up for my principles and at the end because there's 300 million of us and we're very diverse you need to compromise. you need to say how do we make govement work for th untry? >> rose: did the election diminish the power of the tea party or enhance it? >> well, it did both. there were a lot of tea party types who didn't win but at the same time -- >> rose: alan west in florida. >> but there were people who lost primaries because they were singled out by the tea party or on the democratic side the blue
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dogs are gone. so if you're in congress what's the incentive system? the incentive system is to please those people who are going toecide whher you can win the nomination. because they choose whether or not your career goes on or not. so those people whether it's left or right who say we'll use the primaries to knock off people who are reasonable and thoughtful and talk to people from the other party, as long as they're table to do that, the incentive is to keep them happy. you don't need to worry about the general electric. >> rose: what kind of gun control legislation do you think the country ought to have? >> you know, it's noneny. i had a hisry that. wa shot the tes when somebody tried to rob me so i'm not very fond of guns. ty think they have a second amendment right and the court has said that but we don't need guns with big clips that can mow down whole theaters full of people at one time.
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those things ought to be banned and it's an example. it's unreasonable. there are ways to find reasonable middle grounds on all kinds of issues. >> rose: do you think the n.r.a. represents gun owners. >> i think they represent some. some owners say who needs those clips? you don't need -- >> rose: and would you ban assault weapons? >> here's what i'm trying to do. it's not a matter of which issue. what i want are people who have different point of views are going to sit down and say how do we work this out. off second amendment right. we also don't want people mowed down in theaters or schools. there's got to be a way to find a compromise so that we can live with both. >> rose: and how do you choose? >> you change the reward system, you change the incentive system. where the people who are elected are the ones who appeal to the
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interests and concerns and preferences of the entire electorate. that's not what we do. we have a congress and a white house that represent the base in both parties the base. and to heck with the base. we're trying to take care of the government for all of the united states. >> rose: has the definition of conservatism changed? what it means to be a conservative? i mean, you're proud of the reputation you had as a thinking man. >> i think one of the things that's very interesting is that if you compare the platform that barry goldwater ran on in 1964 and you compare where ronald reagan came from in 1980 and '78 '76 and compare it to where republicans are today, it's very different. it's a different part of conservatism. the social conservatism has taken over and it's not what the party was originally. one example is the heritage foundation which i helped to
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form and their mission statement today is very different from what it was when it was written in 1973. >> rose: how is it different? >> it's got an emphasis on social issues. about we not only want to have free enterprise and strong military and strong foreign policy presence but we also want to tell people how to live. it's not just republicans. the democrats are the same way. neher side was to find where we can come together as americans. it's -- the problem is not with the american people. the american people have strong views. but the american people want government that's going to solve things. they want government that's going to -- i don't know what you and i agree on or don't agree on but i'll bet you if there was so problem in the studio or somewhere else and we wanted to solve it we'd sit down and solve it. >> rose: absolutely. still, i'm bothered by how you get it -- how does someone from
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-- change the system you suggest change incentives as you sues change the parties that you suggest it. and make sure tail is not waging the dog. >> for one thing, the influence of money is very corrosive and the money is not coming from grass-roots from people like you and me who want to support candidates from outside interest groups. >> rose: and super pacs. >> super pacs. >> rose: do they have as much influence as we thought they might? >> they do as a close race. if you're in a close race an theyome in wit a big chunk of money will that can make the difference. but you've also got -- inside congress, how do you get a on a committee position where you can make a difference for the country. by pleasing your party leaders that you'll stick with the party line. you have partisan speakers. some countries have speakers who are not partisan. we say our speaker of the house or senate majority leaders are
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party leaders. not legislative leaders. you can change that, you don't even need to be a member of the congress. >> rose: you'd never think about going back >> i did that. fortunately through the aspin institute i run a program for young political leaders. so i'm trying to do my part this way writing a book. i'm happy to be doing it that way. >> rose: great to have you here. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: the book is called "the parties versus the people: how to turn republicans and democrats into americans." thank you for joining us.
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